I switched gyms recently and I must confess that, even if the gym is like a second home for me, the first few days at the new gym had me feeling shy and uneasy. I was thrown back into grade school when I met new classmates on the first day of school, but this time, I was confronted with “classmates” with 6-pack abs or to-die-for biceps! Gaaah! After a few days of familiarizing myself with the layout of the gym and meeting some of the trainers though, it was all good.
The experience got me thinking about how much harder it must be for first-time gym goers who are just getting started on their journey to fitness. Enrolling in a gym is a big step and the challenge for beginners is how to get comfy as quickly as possible so getting fit doesn’t become a chore but a fun experience.
Here are my top 8 tips to getting comfortable while getting fit at the gym:
1- On your first day, ask for an orientation. If you have no clue what to do or where to go, then ask the front desk to have a trainer take you around the gym to introduce the facilities and the types of exercises you can do on your own. Ask them specific questions on how to use the treadmills, spinning bikes, and other machines. Don’t be shy!
2- Get to know at least one of the staff members or gym mates by name. The first few days can be unnerving if you don’t know anyone at all at the gym. However, just by casually introducing yourself to one trainer or fellow gym member and making friendly conversation, you’ll feel more comfortable in the future when you see them again. Just remember: the gym is not a place for chitchat. Keep conversations to a minimum so you give your new friend a chance to workout.
3- Workout with a friend. If you’re nervous about going out there on your own, then encourage a friend to sign up with you. Join classes together, hop on the treadmill at the same time, and just have fun.
4- Hire a personal trainer. If you really have no clue where to begin, then consider hiring a personal trainer who can assess your fitness, evaluate your goals, and assist you during the entire workout.
5- Join a class. One of the best ways to get your feet wet immediately is to sign up for one of the class sessions. This gives you a chance to feel like you’re truly part of the gym along with the other members. To add, it can allow you to meet some of the gym members who frequent the sessions.
6- Come prepared. Wear the appropriate gym out fit, bring your ipod and earphones if you want to keep to yourself, and bring your own hydration bottle. By arriving at the gym feeling ready, then you’re less likely to feel nervous and insecure.
7- Be confident. Don’t be intimidated by people who look and act like they workout 24/7. These people were once newbies too. The gym is for people of all shapes and sizes and everyone has their own goals. You don’t have to look super fit to fit in at the gym.
8- Go often. The more you go, the more you feel comfortable in the gym and, in time, it truly will feel like a second home to you.